Thounaojam Brajamani Singh

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Brajamani, editor of the English-language daily Manipur News, was assassinated in Imphal, the capital of Manipur State.

At around 10:20 p.m., Brajamani was traveling home by scooter when two men, also riding a scooter, forced him to stop on Meino Leirak road, in the Sagolband area of Imphal. The editor was accompanied by Henry Salam, a computer operator, whom the assassins told to stand back and look away.

Brajamani was then shot twice in the back of the head at point-blank range, according to CPJ sources in Manipur.

On August 15, just days before the murder, an anonymous caller had threatened the editor’s daughter over the phone, warning her to prepare for her father’s funeral. On August 17, Brajamani wrote a brief news item about the threat in his paper. The next day, he published an editorial inviting the caller to contact him again so that any “conflicts of mind . . . may be negotiated,” according to a report by the Press Trust of India news agency.

Brajamani was known as the “pioneer of English journalism in Manipur,” one local journalist told Agence France-Presse. He was also an activist who helped found the Journalists Front Manipur to unite the often fractious community of local journalists.

In an August 21 letter to Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, CPJ urged a prompt and thorough investigation of the murder, whose motive remained unclear at year’s end.